Daddy long-legs spider
The daddy long-leg spider are any of the species of spiders belonging to the taxonomic Family Pholcidae. They are a silvery color with long legs in comparison to most spiders as their name implies. They live all over the world favoring dark, damp climates, but it has been known to live in desert environments as well. There is a myth about the daddy long-leg saying that they are one of the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are not big enough to bite humans. This is not true at all.
The Daddy long-legs (Pholcidae) is often confused with the "harvestman" (Opiliones) which can also be called a daddy long-leg. The Opiliones is not a true spider, whereas the Pholcidae is. This page is about the Pholcidae.
The body of the daddy long-legs is made up of a cephalothorax and an abdomen. They have eight thin, long legs that have sensors that can sense nearby movement, gravitational forces, and stress via their slit organs! They have eight eyes called ocelli, and chelicera with small fangs just below them. They have spinnerets that produce silk for making webs located on the end of their abdomen. Their sensors for taste and feel, are located just beside their eyes. Overall, from one leg to the other, they are usually around 5cm long and a silvery color.
The male daddy long-leg spider produces sperm in his abdomen. When preparing to reproduce, he puts some sperm in his palpal organs. He then begins to make his move on the female. If the female lets him, then he inserts the semen into the female's epigyne with his palp. After this the male dies of natural causes, as he is no longer needed for reproduction.
After the eggs become fertilized, the female carries them with her wherever she goes. After the eggs hatch, she takes care of them until she dies. From there, the young spiders eat the mother for nutrition, and then are on their own.
Daddy long-legs almost always live indoors. They are often found in cellars or garages, or dark corners of the attic and can be found almost anywhere around the globe. Their habitat preference is in damp habitats, but they can even be found in the desert. When scared, they will often begin vibrating back and forth, almost becoming invisible due to their rapid movement.
When they make their web, they spin it in such a way that it makes it difficult for the prey to escape, even though it is not necessarily sticky. The main source of food is the red-back spider, and they are very useful for keeping their population in check. The daddy long-legs will often attack other spiders that are in their webs. Sometimes creating a vibrating motion to make the spider think that prey has been trapped in it's web, only to be ambushed by the daddy long-leg.
There is a certain myth that is often associated with the daddy long-leg spider. The myth is that they are one of the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are too short to bite humans. This myth is completely untrue. First, the reader needs to understand that there are two different "daddy long-legs". One is the harvestman (Opiliones) and is often called a daddy long-leg but is not actually a spider. It does not spin webs and has only two eyes. This "daddy long-leg" is a completely different creature. For the Opiliones the myth is false as it does not have poison or venom glands.
The second "daddy long-leg" is the one that the myth really is about. The Pholcidae is actually a spider that has eight eyes and spins webs. There is no evidence that suggests that they cannot bite. Recluse spiders have the same type of jaw and fangs, and are actually a bit smaller. It would seem that this would mean it is less effective at biting humans, but they are well known for the danger they posses, proving that a daddy long-leg spider is certainly able to bite humans. Also, there are not any reports of Pholcidae causing anywhere close to a fatal reaction due to their bite. In further support (or lack thereof) there have been no studies concerning how poisonous they are. So any claim about the daddy long-leg spider being one of the most venomous spiders in the world, has no factual support.
-  Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside.
- Pholcidae (Daddy-long-leg spiders, Cellar spiders) John Murphy, British Arachnological Society.
- FAMILY PHOLCIDAE - Daddy long-leg Spiders Dr. Robert G. Breene and Justin Cordill, Geocities, March 03, 2005.
- The anatomy of a spider Ed Nieuwenhuys, www.xs4all.nl, September 2, 2008.
- Pholcidaewikipedia.org, March 6, 2009.